Today's battle pits two prominent goaltenders from recent years against the Real Original Predator...
Remember, the debate and poll here are about who was the greatest #39 for Nashville, we're not talking about what they did while wearing other numbers, or playing for other teams...
Cisar is the very first player in Nashville Predators history, the team having acquiring him from the Los Angeles Kings for the highly coveted "future considerations" on June 1, 1998. While his NHL career totaled just three seasons with the Preds including 13 goals and 17 assists over 73 games, his high-water mark came in 2000-1, when he played 60 games and finished 7th on the team in scoring.
Pittis was signed as a free agent in the summer of 2002, but he only played two scoreless games for the Predators that season. Hockey Reference says he missed the majority of that season due to a concussion, but I wasn't able to find out much more about him, other than he left as a free agent for a short stint in Buffalo before wrapping up his career in Europe.
Dan Ellis was an afterthought at training camp in 2007, someone who seemed to have been brought in merely to provide competition for some prospect named Pekka Rinne in the battle to back up Chris Mason as the team's starter. Ellis ended up taking over the #1 job that season however, as Mason underwhelmed and the team fought through the distraction of a protracted franchise sale.
Thanks in part to a snowstorm which prevented Rinne from joining the team and getting a shot at starting in March, Ellis held down that top job the rest of the way and turned in an amazing performance, leading the NHL in save percentage and carrying the Predators into the playoffs.
In subsequent years he couldn't match that level of play from 2007-8, and eventually yielded to Rinne, moving on via a trade to Montreal which brought Sergei Kostitsyn to Nashville.
Over the course of 110 games for the Preds, Ellis put up a record of 49-42-8 with a 2.64 goals against average and .912 save percentage.
Drafted in the 7th round of the 2008 NHL Draft, Lindback looked like a doppelganger for Pekka Rinne, another tall skinny Nordic goalie who made for some funny pictures alongside vertically challenged hockey analysts.
The guy turned into a hit with fans however, due to some strong early play and his infectious attitude. His "day of shopping" video gave us a peek into the mind of a young guy experiencing America for the first time, who could be astounded by the wares on sale at Costco but then calmly handled the pressure of making his first NHL start against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks in Chicago, backing the Predators to a 3-2 win. That childlike perspective was captured in @FakeLindback, which marked the zenith of Preds-related parody Twitter accounts and became a game-night comedy staple.
With Rinne having locked down the starter's job for the rest of the decade, last summer the Predators traded Lindback along with two minor assets to Tampa Bay in exchange for a parcel of draft picks (two seconds, a third, and a goalie who was promptly let go). Not a bad return at all on the 207th overall selection from 2008. In 38 games for Nashville Lindback finished with a record of 16-13-2, a goals against average of 2.52, and a .913 save percentage.
Which of these #39's gets your support as the greatest in Preds history? Cast your vote in the poll, and let the debate begin!